“The Non-Violence In Aikido,” by Paul Linden

“…[I]t is clear that Aikido does use physical force. No matter how gentle or efficient our technique, to the extent to which we use any physical pressure on uke’s body, we are using some measure of force. The ‘official’ purpose in an Aikido technique is to not be violating or abusive, and it is fair to say that most Aikidoka in fact are not intending to violate or abuse, though of course there are violent Aikidoka. There remains the issue of whether the force used in Aikido is damaging and whether the force is meant to be damaging.”

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  1. Something may have been lost in translation here. Non-violence is a different tradition. Wasn’t Mohatma Gandhi one of its most famous teachers? Some aikido techniques may arguably be non-violent, getting out of the way for instance. But even slightly helping somebody to fall down… How non-violent is that? Does tripping someone, thereby, become non-violent? Pushing? Perhaps a brief phrase that better encompasses my understanding of aikido would be “minimum effective effort”.

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